So. Star Trek. Huh.
Wait, let me rewrite that: So. “Star Trek”. Huh.
ETA: Meant to put this here before: spoilers abound. Also, I did after all write about the first reboot movie, on the blog intended for posts about, you know, movies.
I was willing to give this whole reboot thing a chance. It had potential, in a weird way. I did not, and still do not, really understand what exactly the necessity is of taking a 47 year history (43 at the time) and saying “Oh, you liked that, did you?” – and taking a phaser to it. I went into the movie unspoiled, and came out in shock: “They blew up Vulcan.” I think that’s almost all I was capable of saying for several hours, with small variations like “They &$%@ blew up *&!@ Vulcan!” (My reaction this evening was more like “Oh good lord now they’re blowing up Starfleet headquarters, are you kidding?“) I liked Chris Pine and Zachary Quinto well enough, just not as Kirk and Spock; I liked Simon Pegg, and almost accepted him as Scotty, except for being pure comic relief and what the hell is that little spiny thing and why is it there; I was shocked to come closest to accepting Karl Urban as Bones. The rest didn’t work for me, and most of all the budding romance between Spock and Uhura felt off. Though there was a little precedence for that, and I could talk myself into that, if I tried hard.
Anyway, in sum I had a hell of time accepting it all with the huge question of “WHY” looming over it all. So when “Into Darkness” came along I didn’t rush to the theatre to see it; I never saw it in theatre at all.
I’m so glad I saved my money. I’m only sorry I just spent $5 to order it On Demand.
Except – Mickey! Mickey Smith helped ruin the world. Dammit, Rickey, you should know better.
Now, I seem to remember in the runup to the movie opening that people kept saying “Hey, is Benedict Cumberbatch playing Khan?” “I bet BC is playing Khan!” “It is Khan, isn’t it?” And the producers came back with “It’s not Khan.” What was the deal with that? Just so that they could wait til the thing opened and then say “LOL JK! Gotcha!” That’s…pretty childish. Well. Par for the course, I suppose.
There were a few good moments, or maybe I should say near-miss moments. What did Kirk do to Christine Chapel, and did she never fall for Spock then? (I’m sorry – a woman who would fall in love with Spock would probably not be so far gone on Kirk that she would leave civilization. Just – no.) (And I’m still waiting none too patiently for Janice Rand to show up.) And of course the ship confiscated during “the Mudd incident” made me laugh.
Um. Yeah, that’s about it. Apart from that, once I knew it was indeed Khan, the movie was a combination of saw-it-coming and wait-where-are-we-now.
One problem was that I kept losing track of where in the new timeline this was. There was a lot of “Jim” going on, and the warmth of old friendships – and then there was a feeling-out feeling of learning who was capable of what, a definite aura of new relationships. The Klingons were a brand-new threat – but they were not the 60’s-style Klingon, but turtle-heads. The timeline has been so severely screwed with that it was a surprise to hear “Kirk” talking about a potential five-year mission, since it was in the midst of the five-year mission that Original Enterprise (or as I prefer to call her, Real Enterprise) found the Botany Bay. The explanation for the reboot discovery of Khan was pretty good, but I remain resistant.
There were plenty of places I had huge issues with – the words “They saw us! So what?” coming out of Kirk’s mouth; Uhura and Spock having a lovers’ quarrel in the middle of being en route to a top secret mission? Which reminds me – they sneak up to Kronos, and then Kirk orders Sulu to send out a transmission threatening John Harrison – a transmission which, basically, how did the Klingons not hear it? I was comparatively unspoiled for the movie, except for the fact that Cumberbatch was indeed Khan, but it didn’t take much to figure out a) how Spock would take out Khan, b) that Kirk was playing the part of Spock at the end of this film, and c) how that stupid tribble would come into play. (There’s another reason for confusion – two, now I’m thinking about it: tribbles and Gorn. Again, the timeline is tortured.)
B was, unsurprisingly, where I had the most trouble. Ooh, surprise, Kirk knocks out Scotty and goes into the radiation-filled chamber. Scotty calls the bridge and says “Better get down here. Better hurry.” There is a kind of awkward angst-filled farewell, including a forked-fingered salute against the glass. But good lord, it was all exactly what I’d expect from an alternate-universe fan-fiction. And me? I didn’t shed a tear, not one, because it didn’t mean a damn thing. Five minutes earlier, this Kirk and this Spock were still trying to figure each other out. Their friendship was so new they had to announce it to each other. The first time this all played out ended in one man witnessing the death of someone he had known for well over twenty years, his best friend in all of time or space, sacrificing his life to save his crew, his family – the people he loved. Also? It was the death of someone the world had known and cared about for over sixteen years, someone I had known for … I don’t know when I first saw Trek, or when I first saw TWOK, but I knew/know Spock more intensely than I knew a lot of real people. Someone who had been in my life for well over 80 hours. It hurt both of the characters, and it hurt me – hurt like hell. It meant something.
This? This was a diluted, almost meaningless, toothless, too-quickly remedied copy. This was still a sacrifice, sure, but it was the death of someone who wasn’t supposed to be in charge of the ship, who hadn’t known the rest of the people on the ship more than a year and change – someone who the audience had known for about four hours. Someone who was trying – and failing – to fit into someone else’s very large shoes. And it didn’t mean a bloody thing anyway, since Jim was alive and kicking five minutes later.
I still like Quinto and Pine all right, if only they weren’t called by those particular names, and Simon Pegg was still fun (and I still hated the pointless creature), and Karl Urban … damn. Nope. He didn’t fare as well. It seemed forced this time, to the point that one of the best lines in the movie was Kirk’s order to lay off the metaphors. Leonard McCoy did not speak exclusively in metaphors. My reaction to the movie in general was “AGAIN?” as the crew was battered, Kirk and Spock in particular were beaten up, and the pseudo-Enterprise all but destroyed. I hate, hate watching that pretty ship that in some ways is so like Enterprise get so badly damaged, and J.J Abrams doesn’t seem to know how to get through a movie without it happening.
One question: why did Bones need to use Khan’s blood, specifically? Why not the blood of the man they defrosted?
Another question: Was it some kind of homage to Original Trek’s heavy-handed political commentary (*cough*“Let That Be Your Last Battlefield”*cough*) that at the end Kirk says: “There will always be those who mean to do us harm. To stop them we risk awakening the same evil within ourselves. Our first instinct is to seek revenge when those we love are taken from us. But that’s not who we are.” Subtle, that.
And one more: In what possible way can the “Space: the final frontier” monologue be considered a captain’s oath? It was cute that they used it, but I was so busy trying to figure out what on earth it meant in that context that it was completely lost on me.
And one last question: What the hell does the title mean?
Wait, I was wrong. There is yet one more big question: Why in the name of all that anyone considers holy did anyone, at all, ever think this reboot was a good idea? It wasn’t. It’s mediocre AU fan fiction. But then, I suppose, what with Twilight and 50 Shades of Nonsense and Cassandra Clare, I guess this is the age of fan fiction racking up money.
More’s the pity. Surprisingly, the movie didn’t make me angry – just sad. Very sad.
- Star Trek Into Darkness (2013) (tenstarsorless.wordpress.com)
- “Star Trek’s” Alex Kurtzman On Khan, Kirk’s Journey & Carol Marcus’ Underwear (spinoff.comicbookresources.com)